How can surgeon help patient to recover as fast as possible? Europe’s top heart transplant surgeon.1
You are a renowned cardiac surgeon. Dr. Anton Titov, MD. You specialize in heart transplantation and advanced heart failure surgical treatment. Medical second opinion is important. You see a lot of very sick patients. What can a surgeon do to maximize the chances of patients going through surgery correctly and help them recover as fast as possible? Dr. Anton Titov, MD. I think this is one of the main questions we have to face as medical doctors. When you are a young surgeon, you think that the only important thing is to do the surgery the best way. Everything wrong would go right. This is wrong! Unfortunately! That would be great! Unfortunately. Of course, you have to do the surgery the right way – this is first and foremost. Dr. Pascal Leprince, Transplant Surgeon. But if you, medically speaking, if you don’t do a surgical operation for the right indication, if you don’t go through the right postoperative care – then you can do the surgery as best as you can. But you will still have pretty bad results. But this is not the only thing. This is still medicine. On the other hand, is a medical doctor is just taking care of the patient. Medical second opinion is important. You can do surgery for correct indication the right way, perform surgery very well, do the post-operative care the best way. But if you don’t take care of human beings. Just forget it. Every year I get one year older as everyone does. I’m getting older. The more I go through this job. The more I see patients either getting through surgery successfully or even dying after surgery. Because we do take care of very sick patients. Dr. Pascal Leprince, Transplant Surgeon. Of course, some of those patients will die. Medical second opinion is important. More I go through that – more I confirm that a medical doctor is not a technician. They are the patients who take care of the patient. This means we have to bring to the patient the best way of care we can do. One example – and this is something I went through, not myself. But someone very close to me went through. She has cancer. She required chemotherapy. Because first, she had surgery – and the surgery went well. Then she needed chemotherapy. When you do chemotherapy, you go to a clinic where oncologists see you. The oncologist was an intern. He did the job he was supposed to do. He gave information [about cancer treatment]. He said, “With the chemotherapy, you will lose your hair. You will get some vomiting and other side effects as you go through after chemotherapy.” Medical second opinion is important. She said, “I don’t want that, because I’m just going to wear a helmet,, cold helmet to keep my hair. I would do my best. Because I don’t want to get any side effects.” the intern said, “Even if you use it, you will just lose your hair.” she is my wife. She said, “Well, I’m not going to go through chemotherapy.” Medical second opinion is important. By just giving information, you think it is the right way to go – but then you don’t help the patient to get through treatment. This is the wrong way to practice medicine. Practicing medicine means you have to bring the patient to the care. Some of the care involves. I know that because I am a cardiac surgeon. Dr. Pascal Leprince, Transplant Surgeon. This surgery is very tough for the patient. Some the patients will go through many weeks – sometimes months of suffering in the ICU, even their family will go through suffering. Sometimes you don’t bring them to accept the suffering to do better and survive. The goal is not only to survive but to survive with a better quality of life, then you don’t exercise the practice of medicine [correctly]. Again, being a technician is very important; being a good technician is very important. But this is not good enough to be a good medical doctor. This is very much my feeling about that. Medical second opinion is important. It is very important for a surgeon to be a good technician. To be a very good psychologist. But are physicians being prepared for that? Dr. Anton Titov, MD. I think it is not about being a psychologist. I never studied psychology. I think it is just that you want the patient to do better. Every day I round on all my patients with my team. Every day I just say “hi” to the patient. I just try to encourage them. Time for each patient is only 1 or 2 minutes because there are many patients, so I don’t have too much time to round for 15 minutes on every single patient. But every day, I try to bring the best to those patients. I think that if all the patients on my team would do that, I am pretty sure we would even improve the results of surgery that we do every day. I just try to convince the patients they can get cured, they can heal.
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